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OK, I have found the whole shoe issue so fascinating! I know there must be hundreds of variances in customs in different regions/countries, so let's start some threads explaining those to people from other places. It will be fun AND educational! And possibly helpful...should I find myself in the midwest one day, I will now be sure to wear nice socks when visiting homes cause I know the shoes will be coming off. :D

So southerners, help me out by explaining the ins and outs of living in the south!

First of all, if someone lets you out in traffic here, it is absolutely critical that you acknowledge their kindness with a little wave in your rear view mirror. To neglect to do this will automatically peg you as "not from around here." :D It doesn't have to be an elaborate wave...to just put up your hand briefly in a sort of backwards salute is fine.

Next?
 

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Not so sure about here in Michigan...but growing up in Iowa...if you meet someone on a gravel road, you must lift one finger off the steering wheel as a "farmer wave", even if you don't know them. No big wave, just your index finger lifting off the wheel. :)
 

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Hmm, the farmers in Kentucky also do the one finger wave! And yes, you need to acknowlege polite drivers with the rearview mirror wave.
Let's see. I don't know if this is regional--you do not pick up your fork and start eating until your hostess takes her first bite. Very rude to start eating before your hostess.
 

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I don't know if this is a southern thing or just a boaters thing but.....you have to acknowledge EVERY single human you see when you're fishing....either with a head nod or a wave. This applies to the people on docks that you pass....or swimmers...or other boaters. Everyone must be acknowledged...lol. Oh, and we like Catfish down here...a lot. A lot of northerners wouldn't consider eating a nasty bottom feeder.

Down south, we don't save empty 2 liter bottles....no return.

We don't have basements. In fact, I never stepped foot in a basement until I was 27 years old.

Our homes in the south almost always have dishwashers and central AC. Even the crappy apartments I lived in when I was in my early 20's had dishwashers.

I'm having a hard time thinking of any differences in customs aside from the shoe thing. In general, I think the southerners are friendlier to strangers than
the folks I encountered up north.
 

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I'm in the South and one thing I'm always hearing comments about is how during a funeral procession all traffic stops or pulls to the side of the road while the procession goes by. Men take their hats off, too.
 

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Baileys mama said:
I'm in the South and one thing I'm always hearing comments about is how during a funeral procession all traffic stops or pulls to the side of the road while the procession goes by. Men take their hats off, too.
Wow, they don't do that up north?
 

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I agree with Connie about the "being let out in traffic wave". Around here, we also wave anytime you catch someone's eye, really. Like if you are driving through a neighborhood and someone is out in their yard and they look your way then it is considered polite to wave - whether you know them or not. Likewise, it is also polite for the person in the yard to wave at the car. Also, if you are walking and a car lets you have the right of way, like in a parking lot, you wave. Or if you are walking your dog along the side of a road and a car passes you, you wave. If you are the driver of a car that passes someone walking, you also wave. Apparently we wave a lot here.

If you are walking your dog ( or just walking yourself) and you pass anyone else it is imperative that you acknowledge them in some way, either by waving or saying "hello" or "good morning" or whatever - but it is considered rude not to make eye contact and give acknowledgement. I have noticed that when I have traveled up north that people do not do this and, in fact, they apparently think I am weird when I try to speak to them.:) Down here to just walk by someone without speaking or smiling or waving is considered rude.

If you're in the South and someone says "bless her/his heart" - watch out. This phrase is always used to lessen the sting of a snarky comment, as in "she's a sweet girl, but bless her heart - she can't cook to save her life." or "Bless her heart, she could make a train take a dirt road!". This phrase must be accompanied by a smile and the appearance of kindliness, as if no offense is meant. By the time you get to "old-ladyhood" in the South you have elevated the use of this phrase to an art.
 

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Oh, and here's a biggie. When you are a child you must always address adults with "ma'am" and "sir". It is considered rude for a child to just answer "yes" or "no" without a "ma'am" or "sir" on the end of it. This is often also used by adults when addressing older adults (usually elderly).

Also, many children are taught to address family friends, etc. as Miss or Mr. first name, such as Miss Betsy, or Mr. Bob, instead of just calling them Betsy or Bob.
 

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Maybe because most rural communities have deep ties with farming, but I think it's common for everyone to do the one finger wave, especially in smaller towns.

I think most guys still open doors for ladies, at least here. I know my mom would've smacked me in the head as a kid if I didn't do that.

That's so true, what Labsrme said. You have to acknowledge people, if your driving, passing on the sidewalk, let someone in traffic, anytime you make contact. It is considered very rude not to do so.
 

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Charla said:
I don't know if this is a southern thing or just a boaters thing but.....you have to acknowledge EVERY single human you see when you're fishing....either with a head nod or a wave. This applies to the people on docks that you pass....or swimmers...or other boaters. Everyone must be acknowledged...lol. Oh, and we like Catfish down here...a lot. A lot of northerners wouldn't consider eating a nasty bottom feeder.
HEY... that's what I was going to say.

Yes, men remove their hats when indoors, unless you are at a country and western club. Then the hat is part of the costume.

YES, you pull to the side of the road for a funeral procession.

I LOVE "Bless her Heart". BWAAHHAHAHAAAH AAAHAHHAAA. I use it often.

Yes to finger waving... Yes to acknowledging people when walking by...AND BY ALL MEANS...

Yes to Yes Ma-am/Sir and properly addressing adults.
 

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I've never been up north of Texas, so I don't have a clue what is different here. I have only been in the southern states.... Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. (casinos in Vegas doesn't count)

What a sheltered life I lead.
 

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Wow, I'm from the deep south and I must be really rude, that's all I'm going to say! I do pull over for funerals if it's possible, but I rarely wave thanks if people let me in (usually because I'm cutting in line and they're wanting to give me a wave of the middle finger).

I think young people are starting to drop the Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir sort of thing. Most people in their 20s and 30s that I know openly discourage it among children--we don't want to be Yes Ma'amed to death. I giggle at Denny when he does it, but he had a more rural upbringing than I did. He also does the finger lift wave which I tease him about, too!
 

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Baileys mama said:
I'm in the South and one thing I'm always hearing comments about is how during a funeral procession all traffic stops or pulls to the side of the road while the procession goes by. Men take their hats off, too.
They do not do that much in Michigan or where I'm at now. But during the my grandfathers funeral in MI, an older gentleman did that for his funeral procession. Made my mother cry even harder.
 

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Allie said:
I think young people are starting to drop the Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir sort of thing. Most people in their 20s and 30s that I know openly discourage it among children--we don't want to be Yes Ma'amed to death. I giggle at Denny when he does it, but he had a more rural upbringing than I did. He also does the finger lift wave which I tease him about, too!
That's interesting. Here, especially in my neighborhood, it is highly frowned upon if the children do not address the adults in a proper manner. Now, 2.5 hrs east of here, I have noticed some inconsistency. People do not have their children do this. I just chalked it up to ******** and improper parenting. Ha ha. Me, personally, I don't care what other children call me, but MY CHILDREN had best use proper protocol.
 

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Yes, to the boating wave, the walker acknowlegement, and if possible pull over to the side for funeral processions. Also very familiar with "bless her heart" LOL.
One thing that I noticed on a trip several years ago to Corpus Christi--drivers pulled over to let a faster car go by on two lane roads! That generally isn't done here unless you are driving a piece of farm machinery that is very slow! However, in Louisville, don't expect slow machinery to pullover!
 

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Okay, since I'm from Chicago but both my parents are from the south this is really funny to me because I feel like I've ridden the fence on most of this stuff.

I thought it was the coolest thing when everyone, I mean EVERYONE, pulled over for my Grannies funeral procession. We even had to go on a highway and everyone pulled over. Here you're not supposed to cut into the funeral procession (not that it doesn't happen) and you get to go through red lights, but nobody pulls over.

And the "bless her heart" thing is one of my favorites! ;D I LOVE when the bless his heart aunts start talking! In Chicago if you're a *****, you're just a plain old *****. In the south half the time you have to really pay attention to be able to tell if you were just slapped down, and even then you're thinking, "But she sounded so sweet!". ;D It cracks me up!

Okay, does anyone remember the bud commercial from a couple of years ago when a guy from the south walks into a New York (I think, but big northern city) bar and when people say "How ya' doin?" he tells them! This was hysterical to me. No one wants an answer to that question, it means "hey". But he would go into a long dialog about how he was doing.
 

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You know, speaking about using sir and ma'am and saying "Miss Betsy or Mr. Bob" instead of Betsy and Bob, I haven't noticed any change in that around my end of the lower south, kids still say it. Heck, I'm 50 and I still sir and ma'am my elders.

But, when my children went to college they were cautioned that not all adults appreciated that type of respect. So depending on their situation, they will drop the sir and ma'am and just respond. That's just amazing since it is only a term of respect.

Also while visiting at a college my son was almost cussed one time for opening a door for a woman. He would have held it open for a man, too, but the woman took offense. That was when he was about 17 and it shocked him so badly. He couldn't understand why anyone would mind the door being held open.

I guess that's another thing I notice here, we hold doors open if we get there first. I don't know why, just being nice, I guess.
 

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Oh I just thought of another. If you need someone to repeat what they said to you you say "pardon me?" I had someone give me a very startled "WTF" look once for saying that!!
 

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I feel like I've ridden the fence too! I'm from Iowa...while not south, is definitely more rural. I think that most of these traditions could be place in the rural category. Except the "ma'am"...that's southern. I've never called anyone that. And if someone says that to me, I feel like I'm talking to a telemarketer.

Bless her heart is a BIG one with my husband's family!
 

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Okay, here's another one - when we go into a restaurant and order tea we don't mean hot tea. Tea down here is iced and sweet, unless otherwise specified. Sadly, my waistline doesn't allow me to drink iced tea anymore, so when I order tea I have to ask if they have unsweetened tea available. Also, every restaurant down here has iced tea available (it might all be sweet, but they will ALWAYS have iced tea). Iced tea is our default beverage down here. The times I have been up north people have looked at me like I have three eyes when I have tried to order an iced tea.
 
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